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India-Korea Cooperation In Education Sector

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The demands of the world economy are changing. The 21st Century demands a new brand of cooperation on education. Several countries have put education at the top of their national agendas. An emerging trend is observed in the collaboration between various nations in the field of education to meet global challenges.

Collaborations in education sectors represent opportunities to establish joint research programs and other activities that link academics from both countries in a genuine and mutually beneficial partnership. They are intended to enable both sides to learn from each other’s experience and to strengthen links and strategic collaboration that supports the development of national higher education and enhances excellence in teaching, learning and research.

The benefits for students in a collaboration program are that they are saved from intellectual claustrophobia. A university is supposed to be part of a live universal community of scholars and students, and it is distance education that realizes that aspiration for the otherwise isolated students.

They talk daily to the world on focused issues and ideas and practices regarding the field of education. Interaction with foreign students and faculty broaden their perspectives greatly. Other benefits include the facility to join a class that would otherwise not be viable and the opportunity to receive input from external experts when they get a chance to participate in programs from universities and corporations from another country. The rich experience that can be gained from the collaborative activities will deliver valuable benefits to the governments and higher education sectors of both India and Korea. Both countries should recognize the crucial role of education in developing employable, enterprising citizens who play an active role in society. They should recognize the challenges facing both countries in developing skilled workforces, developing curricula and teaching styles, and molding entrepreneurial and creative learners. Both countries should support projects on employability and entrepreneurship.

A first step than can be taken is to hold a forum for practitioners from government and educational institutions to enable the exchange of ideas, experiences and expertise between the two countries. Thereby, both countries should explore the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for further cooperation. An Indo-Korea Umbrella Agreement can be signed with the purpose to:

• Strengthen educational, scientific and technological capabilities, including engineering, to broaden and expand relations between the extensive scientific and technological communities of both countries;

• provide opportunities to exchange ideas, information, skills and technologies, and to collaborate on scientific and technological endeavors of mutual interest;

• accord priority to collaborations that can advance common goals in research and education;

• Cooperation between Indian and Korean scientists in government agencies, private sector, and in academia is expected to accelerate in such areas as: basic sciences, space, energy, nanotechnology, health and information technology that will advance understanding and benefit all our people.

• As a part of the understanding, a joint forum should be formed between the two counties that will facilitate certain activities. This forum will lay down the principles of the Indo-Korean strategic partnership in education that seeks to advance solutions to the defining global challenges that these two countries face. This forum should take initiatives to collaborate in the field of education, such as the following:

• Building of a tradition of educational exchanges with joint scholarship programs to Korean and Indian students who want to pursue higher studies in the other country.

• Combined funding and scholarships to increase university linkages and support junior faculty development between Korean and Indian universities.

• Launch of an Indo-Korea Research and Deployment Initiative, supported by Korean and Indian government funding and private sector contributions. This initiative will include joint research centers operating in both Korea and India to foster innovation and will facilitate joint research, scientific exchanges and the sharing of proven innovation and deployment policies in the education field.

• Launch an e-learning program that will allow Indian and Korean universities to collaborate on the development, evaluation and delivery of a wide range of e-based teacher training modules and the training of e-tutors. The aim will be to share experience in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for distance and flexible learning and to develop and pilot innovative distance education courseware in selected subject areas. Develop bilateral links between leadership organizations in the two countries, evaluate current programs and explore joint leadership development programs for senior university leaders and leaders at other levels within institutions.

• Create dual-degree programs. In these programs, Indian institutions will continue to offer their regular degree programs as per the Indian curricula and give Indian degrees after successful completion. Simultaneously, Indian institutions in collaboration with Korean universities will supplement their existing curricula with the additional curricula of Korean universities. Students who successfully complete the existing curricula and the additional curricula will be given degrees by Korean universities and vice versa.

• Instill a strong global dimension into the learning experience of all the students of both countries. An important element in this process is to encourage more young people to gain a first-hand experience of living and working in each other’s country and to develop a better understanding of what globalization means for both countries. To facilitate this, the Indo-Korea Education forum should work towards creating job opportunities for Indian students in Korea and Korean students in India proactively.

Finally, global education partnerships are a dynamic and exciting approach to global citizenship. We hope India and Korea will walk miles together to create such a partnership that will enrich the lives of millions of students and faculties of both countries.

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